The Filipino Connection

Tags: SEND North, Story

Do you know what it is like to have a great idea only to see it hit a dead end?  Did you give up on it?  What if you patiently overcame many hurdles until its time finally arrived?  Our Area Director knows this too well.

A long …long…time ago, before he was our Area Director,  even before he was our Church Ministries Director, Barry Rempel worked in SEND International's home office (that was after he ministered in Spain).  I remember talking to Barry in the lounge at HQ before he left for his new role in Alaska.  That conversation stood out because he shared an idea that was pregnant with amazing potential.  He wanted to see Filipino Christians leave their homeland and minister in the 60/70 Window (Alaska, the Canadian Territories of Yukon, NWT, & Nunavut, and Greenland). 

  1. This God-sized vision was sparked in Barry's heart right around the same time SEND formed the PSC—Philippines Sending Council, a group of Filipinos focused on sending missionaries around the world. 
  2. They would make valuable partners because Filipino culture has many similarities to Native American/First Nations culture. 
  3. They also don't have the historical baggage that can hinder relationships with people in the Far North.
  4. This idea seemed to get traction quickly when a Filipino woman came to Alaska on a short-term missions trip.  She had a significant impact during her time here. 

Unfortunately, subsequent candidates hit a roadblock with the long-term visa process.  The idea had to be shelved and it stayed there for a long time.  Then this past year we've seen God start to open new doors. Last week we talked about the way God is working in

Then this past year we've seen God start to open new doors. Last week we talked about the way God is working in five Canadian Communities.   Could Canada be the place God intends to make the Filipino connection?  The visa/immigration process seems easier in Canada.   So, the Director of SEND PSC, James Aberin, and their main mobilizer, Alex Marcos, traveled in July of 2015 to survey the possibilities for Canadian ministry.   


However, they did have some concerns.  A question was nagging them…could Filipinos thrive long term this far north where it is really cold?  That answer came quickly during the first day of the trip with Barry Rempel.  They meet Filipinos all over Yellowknife…in the hotel, at the Walmart, and during their lunch at Tim Hortons.  This was huge!  James even met someone who was from his father’s hometown. 

As they traveled to a couple of communities they could see many ways their people could make unique contributions in reaching the First Nations People.  This trip reignited Barry's vision and passed that flame to the hearts of these Filipino leaders.

The idea has not yet become a reality, but it is on its way.  Please pray that God would spread this passion for the First Nations people from these leaders to the believers in the Philippians.  Pray that God raises up the right people who are uniquely equipped to serve in the 60/70 Window.  Pray for their provision.  Pray for this summer's opportunity in five Canadian communities. And, as Barry likes to say, Be encouraged because God is at work!

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